During the post-independence period of India, environmental protection was not a concern due to the need for industrial development and political tightening. At that time, it was all about building markets and industries and creating new jobs for our citizens. However, after recognizing the negative impact of industrial development on the environment, the court insisted on environmental protection long before the legislature and government and environmental law expanded nationwide and judicial activity further expanded. Various legislative measures have been taken to bring about the great human rights of living in an intact environment and the corresponding obligations of the state and individuals to ensure the preservation and conservation of the environment.


Article 48A: states are committed to protecting and improving the environment and protecting national forests and wildlife. Added by the 42nd Amendment of 1976, this article mandates the state to protect the environment and wildlife.

Article 51A (g): says that “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.” The Directive principles under the Indian constitution directed towards ideals of building welfare state. The Directive principles under the Indian constitution directed towards ideals of building welfare state[1].

Case laws:

1. In the case of Dehradun vs. State of U.P[2], Supreme Court held that protecting and safeguarding people’s rights to live in a healthy environment must be achieved even if it has some economic cost.

 2. Judges for the first time in Indian Environmental Jurisprudence formulated the principle of sustainable development when describing the significance of the climate and health aspect of life in the given case of Vellore Citizens[3].

3. In the case of Subhash Kumar vs. Bihar[4], the Supreme Court of India ruled that water and air are an integral part of “life” according to Article 21 of the Constitution. This was almost the first step in the constitutional interpretation to protect the safe environment of life.


  • Compensation – given to the victims of environmental degradation – The Supreme Court’s power to provide remedial relief for a proven violation of fundamental rights involves the power to award compensation.

      The “no fault” liability standard[6] for industries engaged in hazardous activities was adopted in the Delhi gas leak case[7], resulting in significant improvements in India’s liability and compensation laws. 

  • Public Trust Doctrine-The Public Trust Doctrine is based on the idea that some resources such as air, water, sea and forests are so important to the community that it is completely unreasonable to make them private property. Is based.
  • Basic Rights to Water – The Supreme Court of India has ruled in the Narmada Bachao Andolan vs. UOI and Ors. “Water is a fundamental requirement for human existence and is part of the right to life and human rights, as set out in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”
  • The doctrine of Sustainable Development – In the case of Vellore Citizens and the RLEK, Dehradun case, the Supreme Court said that the sustainable development has become accepted as a viable idea for eradicating poverty and improving the standard of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystem.

Sustainable Development Doctrine – In the Vellore Citizens and RLEK, Dehradun cases, the Supreme Court found that sustainable development eradicates poverty and improves human living standards while living within carrying capacity. Certified as accepted as a viable idea for. An ecosystem to support, it took the view that the rights of people living in a healthy environment must be protected and maintained, within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystem.


The power and judicial activity of Indian courts has provided a powerful and ever-expanding system of fundamental rights. The Stockholm Conference on the Environment in 1972 raised global awareness and contributed to the passage of the 42nd Constitutional Amendment in India in 1976. This amendment imposes specific environmental obligations on citizens [Article 51A (g)], and about the state (Article 48a). The legal status of Articles 51 (A) (g) and 48A in the Constitutional System is essentially possible and is not legally binding in itself. However, such provisions are often interpreted by Indian courts as legally binding.

In addition, the courts used these provisions to declare and establish legally binding constitutional rights to the environment as part of Article 21. Next, an attempt was made to show how Indian courts used both “soft” and “hard” international environmental law to establish strong environmental law in domestic law. In the second phase of judicial adoption (1985-1995), the global and domestic influence of international environmental law increased. During this period, international environmental law was used to interpret the nature of national obligations related to the right to life, which was extended to include the right to a healthy and decent environment. Prior to 1996, there were few references to international environmental agreements, but by 1990 India had signed more than 70 multilateral environmental agreements[8].

Case laws[9]:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Charan Lal Sahu[10] that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the right to life, including the right to a healthy environment. To support this allegation, the court cited Articles 48A and 51A (g) of the Constitution, stating that pollution was a violation of Article 21.
  • If the company is engaged in an inherently dangerous or dangerous activity and someone is harmed by the accident in the process of such dangerous or inherently dangerous movement, all those injured in the accident then you are obliged to compensate and this risk is not affected. Exception, As a result, the Supreme Court has, without exception, established a new trend of strict liability (decision in the Bhopal gas tragedy case[11]).
  • Environmental damage is classified as pollution and civil servants are obliged to help mitigate the effects of such disturbances by using public interest proceedings as a powerful tool (Vardhichand v Ratlam Municipal Council[12]).
  • The Supreme Court in Mehta’s proceedings[13] publicly announced to all state and federal governments to display two or more environmental slides / messages free of charge between each show as a condition of license for all theaters. I ordered the federal government to direct the implementation by a public institution.


The judiciary has attempted many opportunities to deal with the controversy between construction and the environment. The instrument of Public Interest Litigation was used to establish environmental law in India. The judiciary has liberalized the principle of locus standi[14] under PIL, allowing citizens to sue in court if the public interest is threatened by the actions of a state, agency or group. PIL principles play an important role in unique Indian environmental law. These new advances and developments in India through legal activity open up many opportunities to help the country. In India, the court pays close attention to the details of environmental rights, as the loss of natural resources cannot be renewed. There were occasional directives, guidelines, and directives to check for threats of environmental pollution. There are recommendations to consider.


[2] Equivalent citations: 1985 AIR 652, 1985 SCR (3) 169.

[3] Original public interest writ petition, 1996 5 SCR 241, ILDC 443 (IN 1996), 1996 5 SCC 647, 1996 AIR 2715, JT. 1996, 375, 28th August 1996, India; Supreme Court.

[4] Equivalent citations: 1991 AIR 420, 1991 SCR (1) 5.


[6] Absolute liability.

[7] M.C Mehta vs. UOI.



[10] CITATION: 1990 AIR 1480.

[11] CITATION: 1990 AIR 273 1989 SCC (2) 540 1989 SCALE (1)932. 

[12] Equivalent citations: 1980 AIR 1622, 1981 SCR (1) 97.

[13] 1987 SCR (1) 819; AIR 1987 965.

[14] The right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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